UPLAND - Residents living near Memorial Park continue to have problems with some of the homeless people living in the park, after several months of trying to resolve the issue with city officials.

Two residents who live near the park recently addressed council members with their continuing concerns over illegal activity they have seen occur in the park.

"This is an issue that everyone realizes is an issue, but there's no easy solution to the issue," said Upland Police Chief Jeff Mendenhall, who will present the City Council with information on calls for service at the park during the Nov. 26 council meeting.

Resident Phil Montgomery said the homeless continue to leave empty liquor bottles and bags used to hold marijuana in the park. He said the homeless are also defecating in public.

The wooden park benches and tables are being used for firewood, he said.

"There's something wrong. Something needs to be done," Montgomery said.

There was a shooting in the park last month that led to an Upland police officer wounding a man.

The man is a Rancho Cucamonga resident and is in custody, Mendenhall said.

No one was shot at, but shots were fired into the air following an argument between the man and a group of skateboarders, he said.

City staffers were removing belongings left in the park overnight, but stopped following a ruling from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in September that upheld a decision barring Los Angeles sanitation officials from seizing or destroying unattended property of homeless people living in skid row.

"I know that one thing we've found effective was moving their belongings. They abandoned them or left them and now we're finding that's a problem. We can't do that any more," City Manager Stephen Dunn said. "Every time we make some proactive measure we find that we legally can't do that, and we don't want to be violating people's civil rights."

A Neighborhood Watch meeting was held with nearby residents to help resolve the issues.

Councilman Gino Filippi, who lives near the park, has also met with the residents regarding the homeless.

"I did intend to bring this up tonight whether it's the skate park or park with shots being fired in that area and we're aware of that," he said. "That's a terrible situation."

Filippi asked that Mendenhall provide an update on the situation in the park during the next council meeting.

"And just maybe the chief can go down there and raise some hell or whatever we need to do," he said. "I'm willing to spend time on it."

sandra.emerson@inlandnewspapers.com

909-483-8555

@UplandNow